This weekend, Students for Choice hosted Patchwork, a spin-off from the Vagina Monologues, at Rackham Auditorium. The show included monologues, song, dance and other forms of expression.
Patchwork had pieces from American playwright and activist Eve Ensler interwoven with student-written performances. Participants included LSA sophomore Marya Matlin-Wainer and LSA junior Isabel Saville, who performed “A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery” and “I Am an Emotional Creature” respectively.
LSA sophomores Zoey Horowitz and Ruthie DeWit co-directed and performed in Patchwork. Horowitz and DeWit collaborated with Students for Choice and agreed a change needed to be made to allow for more diverse experiences of women or those who identify as women.
“We were both in the Vagina Monologues last year,” Horowitz said. “There were no directors (last year), so we decided to direct it and we talked to Students for Choice and we … kind of decided that we needed a change. The Vagina Monologues is really wonderful but a little bit outdated and just a very narrow representation of womanhood and gender expression and art form and we just wanted to open it up for everybody.”
LSA seniors Chelsea Chai and Megan Burns, co-presidents of Students for Choice, have continued the tradition of the Vagina Monologues every spring, and, after talking with executive board members and the co-directors, Patchwork was created.
“It’s from the ‘90s and it’s pretty white feminist, so it doesn’t include all the identities that we really wanted to represent,” Burns said. “We wanted more student-written work, we wanted more inclusive work and we wanted work that was younger, fresher and more original and representative of actual students at the university.”
Performers said they appreciated the change. Engineering sophomore Aini Robertson is co-captain of Ambiance dance team and said she enjoyed the opportunity to share her feelings through dance.
“I would say last year I started to discover more about being a woman, what I like about it, discovering more about myself,” Robertson said. “So this (year) is kind of like a chance for me to express myself a little bit more and hearing everybody’s monologues is always encouraging.”
LSA freshman Madelynn Brady attended the event with her friends to support one of the presenters.
“I think it’s a really good program that they have going and I’m glad that they call it women’s Patchwork because it’s kind of like tying stories together,” Brady said.
When asked if the organization is planning to phase out Vagina Monologues, Chai said the option could be a very real possibility.
“We’re very open to that route,” Chai said. “Since our organization is very collaborative, we really rely on the opinions of our e-board moving forward … and I think that we will most likely have something similar in its place something that has been mentioned has more student written work that kind of drives the content.”
Burns added she was grateful for other organizations’ events that allow women to speak on their experiences and believed Students for Choice could expand their message by creating more spaces.
“We wanted to contribute to that and also demonstrate that Students for Choice is more than just an issue about abortion,” Burns said. “It’s more about the overall experiences of womanhood, however that’s defined, so I think in the future our events will look a lot more like this, but also still do a lot of activism based events and also panels and performative events, things like that as well.”